Suburban nature store House Finch aims to make birding more sustainable
With zero-waste bulk seed and other offerings, the storefront brings hobbyists to Collingswood, New Jersey
Birding may seem like a sustainable hobby. But you may not realize that there can be a lot of waste associated with the industry.
With a background in accounting and startup development, Kara Kennedy has loved birding for years. But when Kennedy saw that birding was being left out of the sustainability conversation, she saw a solution to make her hobby more eco-friendly. Along with her partner Chris Guerrieri, she opened House Finch in Collingswood on June 3rd.
There were a few problems that seemed to be unavoidable at the typical big box store or other large bird supply businesses. For one, the amount of plastic. “The reason I decided to start this was that as a birder and someone that cares about the environment, I found it to be so odd that the only way to purchase birdseed is to buy it in plastic packaging,” she said.
Kennedy realized that bird seed and suet also contain animal byproducts and decided to start making her own seed. House Finch packages seeds in compostable paper bags or customers can bring their own bags to take away products.
House Finch sells 14 different varieties of feed, as well as supplies to get started. That includes feeders. For novice birders, Kennedy can guide you to what you need to get started, or even one of the many friendly enthusiasts who come in to replenish their seeds.
So far, House Finch has attracted customers from mostly Collingswood but across various backgrounds, income brackets, and ethnicities. Many customers come with a story of how they got into birding, and many members of the Collingswood community come in expressing concern about the environment. “The greater Collingswood area really loves nature, and they love having the opportunity to meet others that like nature, explore new products they’ve never seen before, and interact with new bird food products and people.”
The store is only two blocks from the PATCO station, which means that birders from Philly can make an easy trip to the ‘burbs. “People have been really excited,” says Kennedy.” Everybody that comes in comments about how the store feels peaceful and beautiful and how they’ve learned something that they didn’t know before.” She’s also learning from them, as well.
Those who are looking for gifts or are curious about what else House Finch offers can purchase gardening tools, journals, seed bombs, and more. Eventually, Kennedy would like to offer workshops and movie nights out back for children.
House Finch is located at 740 Haddon Avenue and is noticeable by its bright teal exterior. Kennedy hopes that her storefront location on a busy strip of Haddon Avenue (situated right next to a bakery) will even spark curiosity, which along with the sustainability intentions, is part of her mission.
“I find that for me, the more I learned about birds, the closer I got to all things nature. If it helps somebody focus and meditate upon something in the environment, I think that’s a win,” said Kennedy.